The U.S. Geological Service Great Lakes Science Center has archived rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) collected from the early 1980s to the present. These fish were collected to provide time- and site-dependent contaminant residue data needed by researchers and managers to fill critical data gaps regarding trends and behavior of persistent organic contaminants in the Great Lakes ecosystem. In the present study, data are presented for concentrations of several organochlorine (OC) contaminants in the archived smelt, including DDT, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), toxaphene, and chlordanes in Lakes Michigan and Huron (MI, USA) and in Lake Superior (MN, USA). The trends for all the OCs were declining as a first-order decay over the sampled time series (1983/1985-1993/1999) with the exception of toxaphene in Lake Superior and PCBs at the Charlevoix/Little Traverse Bay site in Lake Michigan. Concentration of the emerging contaminant, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), also was traced from its apparent entry into this ecosystem in approximately 1980 until 1999. Time trends for the PBDEs were increasing exponentially at all sites, with concentration-doubling times varying from 1.58 to 2.94 years.
Additional publication details
Time trends (1983-1999) for organochlorines and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) from Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior, USA